The Equalizer

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The Equalizer (2014)

Directed by Antoine Fuqua

Based on the television series The Equalizer created by Michael Sloan, Richard Lindheim

Screenplay by Richard Wenk

Starring: Denzel Washington, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Melissa Leo, Vladimir Kulich, Marton Csokas

Robert McCall (Washington) has worked hard to put his mysterious past behind him. His attempt at a new quiet life is interrupted when he meets a young woman (Moretz) under the control of Russian gangsters. As he attempts to help her start a new life, he finds himself drawn back into his old one.

This film is based (very loosely) on 1985 television series created by Michael Sloan (The Caller) and Richard Lindheim. Richard Wenk (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back) adapted the material into the screenplay for this film. This film brings director Antoine Fuqua (Southpaw) and actor Denzel Washington (The Book of Eli) back together. The two had previously worked together on Training Day and 2016’s Magnificent Seven remake. The cast of this one also includes Chloë Grace Moretz (Hugo), David Harbour (A Walk Among the Tombstones), Melissa Leo (21 Grams), Vladimir Kulich (Smokin’ Aces), and Marton Csokas (Loving).

This is a really fun story that lives in the same world as films like A Walk Among the Tombstones and John Wick. The writing begins with a protagonist shrouded in mystery, seemingly seeking to live a quiet life. From there, everything seems to unravel into a series of events that he can’t ignore. Richard Wenk did a great job using this familiar trope and giving it a few unique twists. As the world of the film expands, so does the variety of the characters introduced. This variety helps to create the dangerous underworld that much of the story lives in. There is decent dialogue throughout the movie, although it does get campy at times. This one isn’t going to surprise the audience too much. Still, the little twists and turns in the plot help to keep this from being too predictable. It’s also a film with a lot of action that really pays off. Overall, this is a fun movie with interesting characters, great action, and payoffs that make it worth checking out.

Denzel Washington was a great choice for the lead role in this one. He does a nice job playing a man with a darker past. He plays a more subdued character for much of the film, but still allows for his brand of charisma to shine at the right moments. He also connects nicely with the other actors, allowing some of the relationships to feel genuine. Chloë Grace Moretz also does good work in this one. Her performance is subtle, and she never seems to overplay the emotional aspects of the role. Melissa Leo also does a good job with her character. Her connection with Washington really stands out in their scenes together. David Harbour, Vladimir Kulich, and Marton Csokas all add nice work of their own to this one. All of the actors do great work with the stunts and action throughout the movie. While the quiet moments are important, this one succeeds because of that intense brand of violence. Some of the actors do play campy henchmen types, but this one has some good performances from the central characters.

To quote a friend of mine, “Antoine Fuqua is a great action director”. This film is just the latest example of his ability to bring out the best of the action in a film. Much like John Wick, this movie provides brutal action and intense fighting. The camera work is solid, and the editing keeps the story moving quickly. At over two hours, it’s nice that this one doesn’t ever seem to bog down. The sound and music work also hold up nicely. The overall production is good, but there isn’t much that stands out.

This is a fun movie that fans of films like Taken should check out. Fans of crime films and revenge movies might enjoy this one. I would also suggest this one to fans of the stars. Denzel Washington is a lot of fun to watch throughout the movie. I give this one 3.6 out of 5 stars.

Rating: R

Running Time: 132 Minutes

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